Life cycle assessment of alternative biogas utilisations, including carbon capture and storage or utilisation

Anna S. Varling*, Thomas H. Christensen, Valentina Bisinella

*Corresponding author for this work

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Biogas from anaerobic digestion is an important renewable energy source. Combining its utilisation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) may improve climate change performance. This study uses life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental impacts of 17 biogas management technology configurations (TCs). The technologies include biogas combustion, upgrading to natural gas quality, CCS, direct utilisation of CO2 and methanation. The focus is mainly on energy balances and climate change impacts, and the results are subjected to sensitivity-, uncertainty-, and energy system analysis. The TCs with CCS and CCU provide the largest climate change savings (-1400 to - 2100 kg CO2-eq/1000 Nm3 biogas). Specifically, the methanation TCs provide the highest savings, but they also depend strongly on the energy sources. When combustion and upgrading TCs are amended with CCS, the resulting climate change savings are robust across the energy systems. The biogas upgrading TCs exhibit substantial climate change savings, mainly due to the natural gas substitution. Combustion TCs without CCS have the lowest climate change savings and the highest quantified uncertainties. The biogas upgrading TCs with storage or direct utilisation of CO2 provide a good compromise between climate change savings and energy recovery. In the remaining impact categories, the CCU TCs generally perform best, followed by the upgrading TCs and finally, the combustion TCs. The CCS TCs consistently perform worse than their counterparts without CCS, opposite to the climate change results.

Overall, amending biogas utilisation with CCS or CCU can contribute to climate change mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Pages (from-to)168-179
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • LCA
  • Biogas
  • Biomethane
  • CCS
  • CCU
  • Methanation
  • Climate change
  • Energy utilisation


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